Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Review: Despicable Me 3

Despicable Me 3 (2D)
Cert: U / 90 mins / Dir. Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda & Eric Guillon / Trailer

Maybe Illumination have already peaked this year with the critically lauded Sing*1? Maybe the marketplace for family-friendly animated adventure is finally becoming too densely populated to sustain its own hype? Maybe the Despicable Me storyline should have bowed out after its second installment to just let the little guys take over full-time? Because one thing's for sure: Despicable Me 3 is coasting, and coasting hard

Now that's probably far too harsh an opening gambit while talking about a film I actually quite enjoyed, but as much as I smiled and occasionally chuckled my way through the film, it didn't make me well-up like the first movie and it didn't make me guffaw out loud like the third. And I only mention this because it's a bar the series has set for itself. The new feature is an amusing, if perfunctory, amble through the continuing life of Gru, Lucy and the girls Margo, Edith and Agnes. Kristen Wiig and Steve Carell return in their established roles, with the latter doubling up as his own twin brother Dru*2, this time fighting a former child-actor turned 1980s-obsessed megalomaniac named Balthazar Bratt. It makes for a metric ton of Rubik's Cube, moonwalking and shell-suit references, as well as the sort of greatest-hits soundtrack you'd expect from a film in 2017.

Illumination Studios turn out their best visually, and everything on offer looks as smooth, colourful and richly textured as we've come to expect*3. But the scope of the story is that of a straight-to-DVD sequel which just happens to be showing in your local cinema, punctually clocking in at exactly 90 minutes and with no bells, whistles or end-of-credits sting. The over-arching story splits off into several threads leaving the film feeling disjointed - a quality no doubt enhanced by having two writers and three directors onboard (even if they've all worked with the property on previous occasions). The best parts are the segments (and they are largely separate altogether) featuring the Minions. Which makes you wonder why we're still hanging around so much with Old Man Gru

But Despicable Me 3 is charming and enjoyable in a thoroughly disposable sort of way. Your padawans will love it, which is the important thing, right?

I just know that Illumination are capable of better.
Where is Minions 2, please?

So, watch this if you enjoyed?
For the most part, the Despicable Me movies, although the film shares a curious symmetry with Julian Barratt's Mindhorn, as well.

Should you watch this in a cinema, though?
Only if you have little ones dragging you along by the sleeve.

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?
Keep the franchise ticking over and act as an extended advert for Minions merchandise? Yep.

Is this the best work of the cast or director?

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?

Yes, but is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
There is.

Yes, but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 1: Rax Joris/Kalani, Lama Su (in The Clone Wars) and Jim 'Additional Voices In The Old Republic' Ward are all in this.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 A film I refused to watch as the trailers made it look like a collection of soulless, twee, shrieking awfulness which epitomises everything I detest about Saturday night television while it pisses into the open grave of The Age of Light Entertainment. [ BACK ]

*2 All I'm saying is, when a sitcom gets to 'lead-actor playing own long-lost twin' territory, it's usually on its arse… [ BACK ]

*3 And bonus points are awarded here for a copyright-baiting reference to Carbonite™, as well as fleeting visual nods to Finding Nemo, The Grinch and Futurama. [ BACK ]

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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